43 miles

Yesterday, I went on my second organized bike ride of the year with the Casual Bikers East meetup group. There were almost 25 of us in all, and most were what I believe regulars with the group. There was to be a faster and slower group that would naturally form as the ride progressed. The two organizers are married and provided a cue sheet that proved to be both accurate and helpful. Since I don’t have a cue sheet holder, I simply stuffed my printed sheet into a sandwich ziploc bag and put that under the belt of my iFitness phone holder. It was sufficient, although not overly efficient since I almost dropped the sheet twice.

We took off from the parking lot of the elementary school nearest my home. I rode there since attaching the bike rack to the car would have taken me longer than just riding to the lot. I wasn’t quite sure how to dress since it started in the low 40s and was supposed to climb into the upper 50s when the ride concluded. So bike shorts without leg warmers, a short sleeved bike jersey, and arm warmers were the key. I should have swapped out my summer riding gloves for my winter ones, but decided that I could get my hands warm easily if they were freezing. After a few miles of riding, the hands were fine and I was one of the few not overdressed for the ride.

One thing that I don’t have is a pack that can take extras. If I had started with my leg warmers, I would have stripped them off with no place to stash them. This needs to be one of the items I need to get next. The fuel that I took for the ride proved to be insufficient for the energy used on the ride. I had just one gu packet and another Bulu nutrition packet that came in last month’s box. It was specifically for women, but mid-way through the ride with no other choice, I downed it with joy. I also have just a single water bottle holder on my bike so had juSt a single bottle of water. I had dropped a couple of Nun tablets into it before leaving, so was at least replacing some of the electrolytes I was losing in the effort.

As the ride progressed, I was riding with a coworker who lives in town and we became the slower group. Jeff, one of the organizers, rides in the back while his wife Sharon rides in the front, fast group. We had miles of great conversation and I came away with a contact to replace my propane fireplace. When all was said and done, we rode about 43 miles and averaged about 13.5 MPH – at the upper end of the 12-14 MPH pace we were targeting. I was sore a bit, but mostly just wiped out from the effort. I was also proud of the effort I put forth on the ride and, especially, on the hills. When I replace my heavy hybrid bike next year, I will be able to make this distance without a much effort and just may end up in the faster group before too much time passes!